Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Work it Wednesday: Thrive | Live a rich life.

My goal in this season has been to reconnect with my creative side, reconnect with my calling/leadership in ministry and not get ahead of God.

I am stoked on this season of exploring new creative hobbies and being consistently engaged in photography again.

But in reconnecting to my best investment in ministry it has been so great to see what God has given opportunity for.

Honestly, sometimes it is hard to feel like my investment in ministry matters simply because it is not my (paid) job. I don't need monetary value to want this role. I am so thankful I get to partner with my husband in a ministry were both so passionate about. But without a title and a paid role I often times don't feel valid. But I continue to fight those thoughts and follow God's lead in the ways I can best invest myself.

So our first Ethos Ladies Night was born. On a long car drive Charles and I talked about what I really want my investment to be. I knew it wasn't just attending, helping and having good conversations. I want to build into the women of our ministry. I want to share my story, connect with theirs and offer what I can to help them know Jesus deeper and live a healthy life. So I started dreaming about a gathering for just the ladies. Not just a gather in someone's living room and paint our nails and make ice cream sundaes kinda thing (although I think that can be awesome too), but a night to really build value into them and create meaningful connection. So I started looking for a meaningful space that would be pretty and engaging and I started praying about what God wanted shared in this space.

The idea of THRIVE emerged. My heart desired for these women to not just get by but to live a full life. You know how people come up with snazzy acronyms in their lessons? I'm not that snazzy. But I started thinking about the comments that make up a thriving life and when I mixed the letters up they spelled RICH and I loved it! It fit my thoughts and prayers for this night. Not in a monetary, cushy, fabulous way but in a fulfilling, enriched and deep way.

The theme of THRIVE: Live a R.I.C.H. life was made up of:

  • Remain: "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5. This is one of my favorites. And I think it speaks of how much we have to gain when we stay close to Him. Not just in the easy but in the hard, in the unknown and in the great.
  • Integrity: What happens when no one is looking? What happens when things aren't smooth sailing? What happens when were tested? What happens when we don't feel like obeying, loving or forgiving? I think integrity is such a vital aspect to thriving. It's a constant despite challenge. Not always easy but brings refinement, growth and fruit. 
  • Community: I am all about my sharing life. That's part of why I blog. But I know I couldn't get through life without those close to me or even new friendships or social media connections. God uses people to bring growth, comfort, wisdom, a kick in the butt and more! I know I need all those things. And I know we can't thrive alone. 
  • Healthy Habits: This kind of goes with integrity but I think it is so vital. What foundation are we laying? What guardrails have we set for ourselves? What have we committed to, even when it isn't easy? Habits aren't always second nature but they can become them when we're continually committed. Think exercise, time connecting with God, weekly catch up times with friends, holding back unkind words towards your spouse, putting away your clothes at the end of they day... 
As I planned this I knew I wanted to invite other women in to share their journey, wisdom and encouragement with our young ladies. It was great! They prepared a homemade meal and shared as God led them along the lines of the theme. 

I certainly hope (and think) it was a success and the ladies were encouraged. They made new friends and connections, heard such valuable & honest words from great ladies, made a beautiful necklace to take home as a reminder to thrive and hopefully experienced God's deep love for them. 

All that feels like such a success to me. But I am so humbled at what God did in my heart in this space. Each of the women who were involved in the evening were such an encouragement to me. With their presence, excited commitment, affirming words to me, willingness to share honestly and there love for these young ladies; I felt so loved. I felt affirmed in how God led this evening, in the opportunity to exercise my leadership and in a chance to connect with others in a meaningful way. 

This evening was meant to pour into these young women but I know I grasped a little more what really thriving looks like thanks to each of them. I am so thankful for a space to engage my gifting, for such great young women to connect with and for the ways I do not see that God is at work. I went home exhausted but with such a joy for how the evening unfolded. And even as I type I am realizing that much of that peaceful joy was because I got to lead/connect in an avenue that aligned my passions and wasn't forcing a different outcome from me. So good, healing and encouraging and I am thankful. 

Some quotes from the valuable women who poured into the evening:

"Go forward where He has led us while remaining true to how He has created us" 
"Know Him deeply to live life free as who He created you to be"
"Thriving isn't about what you have or do, it is who you are & how you're connected to God."
"I am approved. I am accepted."

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